Tailormade tour Cities of south-west France, Lyon and Paris by rail holiday France

9 nights/10 days

Paris • Lyon • Carcassonne • Bordeaux

This 9-night luxury rail holiday introduces you to four unique French cities. You visit the capital, Paris, the gastronomic capital of Lyon, the mediaeval, fortified city of Carcassonne and elegant Bordeaux, at the centre of the wine trade and home to notable art museums and grand mansions. You travel by Eurostar from London to Paris, then by fast TGV in between the cities and return by Eurostar from Paris.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotel, from about £2,390 per person.

Luxury rail holiday to the south-west French cities of Carcassonne and Bordeaux, with Lyon and Paris

Highlights

Paris • Visit Les Invalides • Visit the Louvre and the Tuileries • Champs-Elysées • Lyon • Place Bellecour • Notre Dame Basilica • Carcassonne • Bordeaux • Place de la Bourse • Musée des Beaux-Arts • Pey Berland Tower

Day by day

Begin your rail holiday by departing on a Eurostar from London to Paris. Departures are hourly and the journey takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes. Choose a departure time to suit although we suggest taking a mid-morning departure to arrive into Paris in the afternoon. Check-in to your hotel where you will spend three nights.

You have two full days at leisure to explore Paris. The hotel we suggest is situated on the Left Bank, a stone’s throw away from La Place de la Concorde, the Assemblée Nationale and Les Invalides. Highlights to visit include the Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most famous of Paris’s monuments, where you can take a lift to the top floor at 899 feet and enjoy the view across Paris. Other places to visit include the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe which dates from 1836. Spend some time taking in the atmosphere of Montmartre where you can find the Sacre-Coeur basilica. Montmartre is one of the most charming areas of Paris, and it is worth exploring the narrow winding streets that make it so appealing. Another appealing district is Le Marais, on the right bank. Here you can find the elegant Place des Vosges, an attractive square known formally as the Place Royale built in the early 1700s. There are also many museums on offer. Notable museums include the Louvre, Musée Rodin and Musée d’Orsay. Take a break from sight-seeing and enjoy one of the many pretty gardens such as the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardin des Tuileries.

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before taking a taxi to the Gare de Lyon where you board a direct TGV service to the city of Lyon. The journey takes about two hours with trains departing about two every hour. There are no tunnels on this route and you’ll see the forests and fields south of Paris give way to the hills and vineyards of Burgundy. Check-in to your hotel where you will spend two nights.

Lyon has much to offer, with history dating back to Roman times. The old town is located on the banks of the River Saone. Spend time exploring the narrow, cobbled streets with medieval buildings and a variety of restaurants to choose from. Visit Place Bellecour, an impressive square with a statue of Louis XIV on horseback as its centrepiece. Stroll to Place des Terreaux and admire the fountains dotted about the square. The striking Notre Dame Basilica, situated in Fourviere, can be accessed on foot up several steps or by funicular. Enjoy panoramic views over Lyon from here. Lyon is also home to around 30 museums including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation. Dine in one of Lyon’s many restaurants or try the Michelin starred restaurant, Les Loges, at your hotel. 

Check-out of your hotel in Lyon and board a direct TGV train to Carcassonne. The journey south along the Rhone Valley into Provence and then Languedoc-Roussillon takes approximately 3 hours 30 minutes. You will spend two nights in the medieval town of Carcassonne. 

The Gallo-Roman upper town of Carcassonne is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and historically of great significance in France. Walk along the city walls, past the castle’s amphitheatre, the basilica, and its 53 watchtowers, before making your way into the 12th century Château Comtal to view its archaeological exhibits and tour its inner ramparts. Visit the Cathedral of St Nazaire, which was built between the 11th and 14th centuries. The lower Carcassonne town subverts its title as a city, instead offering a peaceful, somewhat sleepy atmosphere, with a central square that holds a weekly market and numerous restaurants and cafés. From Place Carnot, walk further out into the town centre to discover the quaint individual stores that sell unique gifts, or La Ferme, which sells fine food and wines.

Today you travel by train to Bordeaux. This is a direct service which takes approximately 3 hours, heading north-west through the ‘pink city’ of Toulouse, along the valley of the River Garonne to Bordeaux. Your hotel, Le Saint James, is situated in the quiet village of Bouliac, about 10-minutes by taxi from Bordeaux Saint Jean station.

The city of Bordeaux is a thriving hub of wine making in the Aquitaine region. On the bank of the Gironde Estuary, just south of the Médoc Peninsula, and about 40 minutes’ drive from world-famous Saint-Emilion. Within the port city of Bordeaux, stroll around the streets to get a feel for the wealth of extensive and interesting architecture. Recommended stop-off points include the Amphithéâtre de Bordeaux dit Palais Gallien, the Cathédrale de Bordeaux, the Opéra National de Bordeaux, and the Basilica of St. Michel. Making your own way around this city and exploring in your own time is the best way to experience the place first-hand. To delve deeper into the heritage of the city, visit the Musée d’Aquitaine, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, or catch a show at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux.

Depart from Bordeaux on a late morning train in the direction of London, changing stations in Paris before boarding the Eurostar to arrive back in the UK at about 6pm.

Special offers for this holiday>

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,390 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room and including standard class rail travel. Supplement for standard premier/first class about £420 per person.

Holiday Code FRBR13

Luxury rail holiday to the south-west French cities of Carcassonne and Bordeaux, with Lyon and Paris

Special offers for this holiday>

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,390 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room and including standard class rail travel. Supplement for standard premier/first class about £420 per person.

Holiday Code FRBR13

Our prices include ● Second-class travel on all trains, with standard class on Eurostar (first and standard premier can be booked at a supplement)
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a superior room at Hotel Bourgogne et Montana, Paris
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a classic room at Hotel La Cour des Loges, Lyon
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a classic room at Hotel de la Cité, Carcassonne
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a deluxe room at Le Saint James, Bouliac near Bordeaux
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers, entrance fees and meals except daily breakfast at each hotel
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in Paris, Lyon, Carcassonne and Bordeaux

Additional information This holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Additional nights can be added at any point on this itinerary. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.

Luxury rail holiday to the south-west French cities of Carcassonne and Bordeaux, with Lyon and Paris

Hotels included in this tour

Special offers

Call to make your booking and save an extra £50 per adult Call us instead of emailing us when you are thinking of booking a holiday and save an extra £50 per adult (in addition to any special offers that might be available). We want to talk to you to discuss your requirements and a phone call is usually the best way for you to define what you want enabling us to respond more accurately. We want to talk to you and you save an extra £50 per adult.

Holiday price guide Prices from £2,390 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room and including standard class rail travel. Supplement for standard premier/first class about £420 per person.

Holiday Code FRBR13

Luxury rail holiday to the south-west French cities of Carcassonne and Bordeaux, with Lyon and Paris

Highlights of Bordeaux

Visit vineyards and chateaux, for tasting and buying. Visit the oyster beds. Experience the Cognac distilleries, and the Romanesque architecture. Bordeaux is the historical centre for wine however you may also visit the villages of the wine region such as St Emilion.

Climate in the Bordeaux Region

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 10.0, Feb: 9.4, Mar: 12.2, Apr: 19.5, May: 18.0, Jun: 23.7, Jul: 27.2, Aug: 25.7, Sep: 24.2, Oct: 19.7, Nov: 15.4, Dec: 11.0. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France

Luxury rail holiday to the south-west French cities of Carcassonne and Bordeaux, with Lyon and Paris

Highlights of Languedoc-Roussillon

Sample the earliest cherries in France and other seasonal fruit. Take a visit to see the local ceramics and paintings, travel on the narrow-gauge railway from Villefranche de Conflent to Font Romeu. There are Folklore and music festivals in August. Gastronomy Sample anchovies, macaroons, Rousquilles aniseed biscuits. Local wines include Banyuls and Rivesaltes wines and Cotes de Roussillon wine. This is one of the most highly-regarded new wine regions of France.

Climate of Languedoc-Roussillon

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 12.4, Feb: 11.5, Mar: 12.5, Apr: 17.6, May: 20.1, Jun: 26.5, Jul: 28.4, Aug: 28.1, Sep: 26.1, Oct: 21.1, Nov: 15.8, Dec :13.5. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France

Luxury rail holiday to the south-west French cities of Carcassonne and Bordeaux, with Lyon and Paris

Highlights of Paris

We can arrange tickets for the opera, ballet and concerts throughout France. Please let us know what you want to see and we will do our best to book tickets in advance.

Paris Climate

Average air temperatures in Centigrade: Jan: 7.5, Feb: 7.1, Mar: 10.2, Apr: 15.7, May: 16.6, Jun: 23.4, Jul: 25.1, Aug: 25.6, Sep: 20.9, Oct: 16.5, Nov: 11.7, Dec: 7.8. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France.

Luxury rail holiday to the south-west French cities of Carcassonne and Bordeaux, with Lyon and Paris

Highlights of the Rhone Valley

Cultural highlights include the Beaujolais vineyards, the Gastronomic centre of the city of Lyon, vineyards of the southern Rhone valley, jazz festivals, olive festivals, and the International shoe museum at Romans.

Rhone Valley Climate

Average air temperature in Centigrade: Jan: 12.4, Feb: 11.5, Mar: 12.5, Apr: 17.6, May: 20.1, Jun: 26.5, Jul: 28.4, Aug: 28.1, Sep: 26.1, Oct: 21.1, Nov: 15.8, Dec: 13.5. Source: Direction de la Meteorologique de France

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